AWARE follows a strict ethical code based on the ethical guidelines laid down by the Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP). For marketing research type projects (e.g. mystery shopping, most win-loss analysis, etc., quantitative marketing research) AWARE follows the UK Market Research Society guidelines and code of conduct.
In addition to the SCIP / MRS ethical codes, the following principles are adhered to by AWARE and its associates:
AWARE will only engage in legal and ethical approaches to obtaining competitor information and will make no attempt to obtain information that has been classified as a trade secret. (Note that public domain information is not restricted to published information, but can also include information obtained through a variety of research approaches including interviews with competitor employees and employees working for competitor clients as well as others who have direct knowledge of the competitor. Information gathered during such interviews can be used so long as it is not flagged as confidential).
AWARE will always aim to protect client interests and reputation. We will thus not engage in any practices, which could, were they discovered, bring our client’s name into disrepute. This includes, but is not limited to practices such as misrepresentation and lying, bribery, “dustbin searches”, entrapment and other approaches, which AWARE views as unethical business practices.
In interviews or other direct contacts, AWARE will disclose all relevant information for the purpose of the interview, including the interviewer identity and contact details. However AWARE will never divulge client names or the ultimate research purpose without prior authority from the client.
AWARE will protect client confidentiality and will not use information gathered or learned in one project in any other project. In this context,AWARE recommends and encourages the signing of a confidentiality agreement with clients. This can either be the client’s own agreement (if available), AWARE’s standard contract or any variation agreed by both parties.
AWARE will always seek to avoid any conflict of interest between clients. As a result, AWARE works with only a single or limited subset of companies within an industry or industry sector and will either turn down work from competing companies of an existing client, or will ensure that the same associate does not work on both companies’ projects where any conflict of interest could arise.